One of the most exciting developments in the Australian wine industry over the past 10 to 15 years has been the emergence of new regions and/or sub-regions making great wine. In a previous post, Great Southern, WA: The New Centre for Australian Riesling?, I discussed how the Great Southern region of Western Australia is displaying fantastic potential for riesling and perhaps even starting to close the gap in terms of quality with its better known Clare and Eden Valley peers in South Australia!

If reviews for the Marchand & Burch Chardonnay are any indication, the Great Southern is also making impressive inroads in creating fine chardonnays.

Marchand and BurchMarchand & Burch is a joint venture between Burgundian winemaker Pascal Marchand and Howard Park and MadFish Wines’s vigneron and owner Tony Burch. Howard Park is one of Western Australia’s oldest and largest family-owned wineries with vineyards in both the Margaret River and the Great Southern. The Howard Park Chardonnay, sourced from its Mount Barker, Porongurups, Denmark vineyards in the Great Southern, is generally regarded as one of Australia’s best chardonnays.

Pascal Marchand, ex-winemaker at Comte Armand and Domaine de la Vougeraie in Burgundy, personally overseas the winemaking process; deciding, for example, how many whole bunches to include in fermentation. The vineyard and the winery are biodynamic and organic, with an emphasis is on small batch processing to bring out the distinct character of the terroir.  The chardonnay is hand-picked and wild fermented in French barriques. (Australian, New Zealand and Burgundian Pinot Noir by Tom Cannavan, wine-pages, October 2009)

In addition to the chardonnay, which was first released in 2007, Marchand & Burch make two pinot noirs from Mount Barrow and Gibraltar Rock in the Great Southern, and a shiraz. An extensive collection of Burgundian wines (17 in total to date) … Read the rest